|MadSci Network: Physics|
To give you an idea of power generated by a few things, first view the list below. Power Levels Laser Pointer/CD Laser: 0.1-10 milliwatts Light Bulb: 10 -100 watts Industrial Laser: 1 kilowatt Military Laser/ABL/SBL/THEL: 100 kilowatts - 10 megawatts Nuclear Power Plant: 1 gigawatt Currently the worlds most powerful laser resides at The National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the University of California Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). It is a 192-beam, 1.8-megajoule, 500-terawatt, 351-nm laser for inertial confinement fusion (ICF) and high-energy-density experimental studies. The building that contains the laser and its operating parts is that size of a football stadium. Aside from the factors such as sizes and cost, the limits to a laser's power come from the ability to contain and focus the beam itself. Keeping those in mind and the advances made by the NIF, there is really no upper limit to the power that a laser can have. As time passes and technology continues to advance the power of laser will likely grow as well. Below is a table of prefixes assigned to the number indicated. Imagine multiplying those numbers by the value of the prefix. milli = one thousandth (one divided by one thousand) kilo = one thousand mega = one million giga = one billion tera = one trillion For additional information on the NIF: http://www.llnl.gov/nif/
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